Checking Your Pockets


We were watching The Fellowship of the Ring last night and I noticed something interesting. When Bilbo is preparing to leave, Gandalf asks him if he intends to leave the ring to Frodo. Bilbo replies with an affirmative and informs the wizard that the ring is on the mantle. Then he has a moment of confusion and realizes, “No. It’s here in my pocket.”

What a good metaphor for sin.

Sin can be very difficult to keep track of. One of the reasons for this is that all wrong doing is sin, but not all sin is innately wrong doing. Sometimes wonderful things, when used out of context and against divine intention, can become sin.

A good example of this is sex. God designed sex to be between a man and his wife. Used within this context, sex is a wonderful gift. When it is taken outside of the boundaries of marriage, however, it can do untold damage and becomes sinful. Money is another example. I often hear the quote ‘Money is the root of all evil,’ but what 1Tim.6:10 actually says is ‘The love of money is the root of all evil.’ Money can be a gift if used properly and not turned into an idol.

Because so many good things can be warped into sinful things, it can be easy to fall into the trap of self-justification and excuse our behavior. It’s also incredibly easy to slip into addiction and sinful habits. I’m so prone to the ‘I can stop whenever I want’ mindset that I don’t even realize habitual sin until it’s too late and it has a grip on me.

Something else to notice is that the ring sat quietly in Bilbo’s pocket for sixty years. Sometimes sin will do that too. Just because sin isn’t causing major damage at the moment, doesn’t mean it’s harmless. There is no such thing as harmless sin. Sometimes, satan is perfectly content to let us be, well, perfectly content. Sometimes sin gets taken for granted and left alone for so long that the real damage is going unnoticed.

We can grow complacent and lukewarm, lazily fingering the sin in our pocket. Meanwhile, we aren’t growing closer to the Lord, we aren’t winning disciples, and we aren’t advancing the Kingdom. And that sin is becoming a stronghold that will eventually cause damage to ourselves and those around us.

Can you imagine what would have happened if Bilbo walked out onto the road with the ring in his pocket? The ring could have fallen into the wrong hands, or it could have corrupted Bilbo as much as it did Gollum. Or it could have sat quietly for several more years, still biding its time. But it’s unlikely that it would have been destroyed. Then all of Middle Earth would have paid the price for Bilbo’s secret sin.

If you are a born again Christian, then the Holy Spirit lives within you and you have everything you need to combat sin. But we all need to be on our guard against the ‘little, not so bad’ sins that we think we can handle. All sin is dangerous, so make sure to check your pockets regularly.

(Originally published 9/12/13)


About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

12 responses to “Checking Your Pockets

  • writefury

    Great post! Love the picture too. 🙂 It’s like that with pencils with good erasers in our house. 😛

  • Mich-in-French

    A brilliant analogy! I really enjoyed reading this – it is so, so true,

  • hankdo2014

    Reblogged this on Storybook 4 Joy and commented:
    Good post. Good analogy.
    What is your opinion about ivf or in vitro fertilization?

    • Leah Ness

      Thank you so much for the reblog =) I’m so pleased you liked it!
      As for my feeling on ivf, I have only researched it so far as to determine that it would not be an option for me and my husband. However, I would never judge people who do use it because I think that decision is between the individual couple and God.

      • hankdo2014

        I understand. I am not asking you to judge people who use it necessarily. The question is what are the moral implications of ivf. Does it go with or against marriage? There is no sex involved with ivf per se but does that separation matter morally.

      • Leah Ness

        It’s certainly an interesting question and, again, I haven’t done much research into the procedure. Whether it’s for or against marriage I believe depends on the people using it and the reason it’s being used. For example, a married couple struggling with infertility presents a different case for marriage than a single person who wants a child without the ‘constraints’ of a marriage. I don’t believe it’s sexual immoral in any case. The issue I have with ivf is that I personal believe life begins at conception and that conception begins at fertilization. If the doctors are artificially fertilizing numerous eggs with the understanding that the odds are against all of the lives being successfully sustained, then I don’t feel comfortable with the procedure because of lives lost. As you can see, the question of morality here is a tricky one. What are your thoughts?

      • hankdo2014

        Sorry for the delay. Thank you for your response. This is a difficult question and one I struggled with for a while until I became Catholic. You are correct in the method used that sacrifices are made in the hopes that one will implant and develop into a fetus while the others will die off. I’m on par with you that life begins at conception and so it is murder or killing of an innocent life, regardless if it has a voice or arms or any other features of a human being. It still has the genetic make-up of a human person and a soul.

        With that said, let’s speak hypothetically. That one day the procedure is perfect in terms of using fertilized eggs and that no sacrifice is made and every egg is guaranteed one fetus. What would your opinion on ivf be then? Would it change now that it doesn’t kill an innocent life any longer?

      • Leah Ness

        Loss of life is really my one moral objection to IVF. If it could be guaranteed that every life would be preserved and thrive, than I don’t have a problem with it. It’s a serious procedure, one that draws from your time, finances, and emotions and therefor shouldn’t be entered into unless both spouses are in complete agreement between themselves and God. If they are, then I don’t see any moral issue.

      • hankdo2014

        I apologize greatly for this delay. Once Easter hit, I put aside alot of things and have been bombarded with all sorts of changes lately. With that said, I hope you still find this conversation intriguing.

        What about the moral implications of the missing conjugal act between spouses for IVF?
        In other words, IVF simulates the results of this act but it is done outside the natural conditions.
        Does this not have any importance?

      • Leah Ness

        An interesting point. I feel like a bit of a broken record player, but I have to say again that I think it’s between the individual couple and God. Personally, I don’t think the conjugal act is required in order to love and nurture a child. If such was the case, adoptions could be argued to be immoral as well. So can IVF be considered an unnatural way to produce a child? Yes, I believe it could. But is that child going to be any less loved or cherished because of this? That depends on the heart of the parent.
        This conversation is indeed intriguing, but I’m not sure I have anything new to add, especially considering that I haven’t done the research necessary to deliver an educated conclusion. But thank you for the stimulating conversation =)


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